So what’s on offer?

New team member Lawrence writes about his week heading up the TLC team:
This week, Tuesday & Thursday were different – no Anna, and as it happens no Anita.  Launched just 2 weeks ago at its new site, I led the teams this week – and by 10am both days, no customers? It feels like this is yet another stage – how is Toast Love Coffee moving on? What’s on offer and are customers buying into the idea?

The six weeks school holidays are here and we’ve only been open for two weeks – how will it work? Would people come with school now closed for summer? Would the regulars keep on coming? Who are we going to continue to attract to the café? Will they come at all?
Well, they did come and my, how many!! 106 customers in just 2 mornings!
And I am taken with how the idea behind TLC is taking effect. The message is simple – let’s not waste food; “feedbelliesnotbins, pay as you feel or with a skill or time…..
Two families arrived first on Tuesday and they stayed most of the morning and they returned on Thursday with more members of the extended family, this time bringing gifts of blackcurrant juice for the children, and tidying up their tables when they left.
A visit from RETAS staff next and in pops a man who wants to graffiti a wall for us – ‘Wake up and smell the coffee’ and shows me an idea he has!
Steve arrives from the local allotment, this time with two others – they are taking a break and are pleased to hear how they could bring us some produce and how they want to invite us to their patch!
Becky brought in a man’s bike to pass on – it was gone within an hour to a very happy taker.
A regular lady with a dog tells me she’s going to source a bowl for dogs to have outside.
Three young sisters aged 5,7 & 9 brought in some herbs that they’ve grown at home and some books they wanted us to keep. The middle girl got the idea behind the café straight away when, munching through some strawberries she said – ‘So it’s like a swap – I’ve brought you herbs and swapped it for a few strawberries’!
Police visitors, those responsible for literally getting the whole CATCH youth and community centre enterprise off the ground, came to look and had a meeting in our cafe space.
I was then told how the adjoining space is going to be used to teach families English – offering childcare as well as the chance to learn English and about the education system here.
And finally as I was leaving, I discovered another project, involving 16 yr olds from NCS through the local school, who were all busy digging paths and laying gravel and wood chippings, volunteering for CATCH – one of their young leaders is working with CATCH to find ways of involving young Muslim women in community projects.
There’s a great deal to be said for community spirit – when they see it works, people get it. There’s so much on offer here and so much for people to offer. And we’re only scratching the surface!

published by Anna Dyson
Founder and Director of ToastLoveCoffee. CEO of Dyson family, Roundhay (Leeds) branch which involves a huge array of skills impossible to imagine or articulate! Formerly, Jewish educator and community professional.


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